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The Future is Female!

Updated: May 22

The three-day virtual summit brought together movers and shakers from around the globe committed to gender equality to discuss girls' futures.

Michelle Obama, Meghan Markle, Priyanka Chopra, and Hilary Clinton are some of the amazing women that spoke at the recent 2020 Girl Up Leadership Summit.

Girl Up is an initiative founded by the United Nations Foundation. Since 2010, Girl Up has been working to give girls the resources and platform to start a social change movement wherever they are. It is a global movement of empowered young women leaders who defend gender equality.

Girl Up has been hosting Leadership Summits in Washington, D.C., since 2012. This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the summit took place virtually, allowing over 40,000 girls and world leaders from across the oceans to come together and connect online. With the theme "We Need to Talk," Girl Up hopes to push the conversation about intersectional gender equality and find solutions to issues like gender-based violence, homelessness, education inequity, etc.

Former First Lady Michelle Obama delivered a special message on behalf of the Girls Opportunity Alliance, an Obama Foundation program that seeks to empower adolescent girls worldwide through education. In her speech, Michelle addressed the disruptive impact of COVID-19 on girls' education across the globe. However, she said that girls "have shown incredible resilience" in crises like this and that the world needs their effort now more than ever.

Michelle also pointed out that "the struggles that many girls already face are worsened in times like these." Domestic violence, child marriage, teen pregnancy, etc., are only some of the challenges made even starker by the global pandemic. Beyond all these, many girls may also lose their access to education. The Malala Fund predicts that 10 million girls of secondary school age will not be able to return to their classrooms even after the pandemic ends.